New Caledonia has gained the upper hand in their friendly series against Solomon Islands with a 3-0 win at Lawson Tama Stadium this afternoon.
Former Oceania footballer of the year, Bertrand Kai, lived up to his reputation and the expectation of fans in Honiara by clinching the opener after the half-time breather. Kai stole into the penalty box with Michael Boso and Phillip Mango unsure about who to collect and tipped the ball into the empty net.
Roy Kayara, extended the lead for the visitors shortly after with a run from deep inside his own half and beating the Solomon Islands offside trap. Kai then wrapped up the win with an easy tap home in what was a clear set move by the Caledonians.
For the home side, glimpses of glory appeared in the opening half but finding the back of the net was not forthcoming for them. Benjamin Totori missed a golden opportunity right in front of goal sending his attempt over the cross bar and no luck was there either for Boso whose header just inched the far post.
Solomon Islands now has their work cut out for them to try and overturn the deficit against New Caledonia when they meet again in the second and final match of the friendly series on Saturday. This will not be an easy task against a side who holds a rather one sided record against Solomon Islands.
The New Caledonians might just be content to defend their advantage but they must be aware that the Solomons still pose a threat and have the capacity to turn the series in their favour.
The second match in the series kicks of 4:00pm on Saturday.